Sensitise public on child abuse

Child abuse is a serious problem in Uganda. However, child abuse within the home is hidden from the public eye because of the vulnerability and helplessness of the child (as seen in the infamous video where a maid beat up a child).
It is commendable that the child’s father had the skills and ability to use a CCTV camera to discover this evil. However, this is not the case for most working parents who rely on maids’ services and who cannot all become detectives. The actions of the maid should be condemned and it is a relief that the baby is alive and well, thanks to the smart thinking of the father.
However, child abuse happens when the carer, usually a woman, even the mother, is stressed and herself suffering in some way. At MIFUMI we witness many distressing cases of child abuse.
There are two things urgently needed in Uganda. The first is raising the issue of child abuse in the public profile so that people become sensitised to the issue, understand its negative impact and begin to provide a collective neighbourhood watch for children at risk of abuse. Which in many communities already happens.
The second is looking into the situation of house maids and this is in no way referring to the current case. Many housemaids or domestic workers, are employed under terms and conditions of poor pay, are badly treated, work long hours and have enormous workloads without any holiday relief. Any effort towards standardising terms and conditions of maids, (without necessarily excusing the action) such as that done by certain groups in Uganda and lawyers, are urgently needed, if we are to protect the children left in their care. A child is only as happy as her mother, or her carer. That is why MIFUMI has decided to adopt the issue of child abuse as its theme during the 16 days of activism against violence against women.
Atuki Turner
Executive director

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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